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Spring 2017 CURRENTS

Wednesday, March 29

Renée Lambert-Bretiere, Assistant Professor, MLLI 

Documentation of Innu: A Step toward the Preservation of Indigenous Languages of Quebec (Canada) 

In a situation of language endangerment, communities express a strong need for the documentation and preservation of their language, which is increasingly threatened as the older generations of monolinguals pass away. Despite being one of the most studied indigenous languages of Quebec, there is no suitable documentation of Innu, an endangered Algonquian language, to ensure its preservation. In this talk, I will address the challenges posed by Native language endangerment but will also focus on the methodology that may enable Innu communities to move towards a better and more thorough documentation of their native language. 


Susan McDonough, Associate Professor, History  

Let’s Not Talk About sex: Prostitutes as Knowledge Brokers in the Medieval Mediterranean

In this project, I ask what prostitutes offered their clients beyond exchanging money for sex acts. Focused on port cities in the medieval Mediterranean, I consider prostitutes as disseminators of local expertise they shared with their clients. 

Monday, April 3  

Susan McCully, Assistant Professor, Theatre 

All She Must Possess, a neo-Modernist play about Etta Cone   

 I’ll be presenting research and early process writing on my play about the art collecting Cone sisters and their relationship with Henri Matisse and Gertrude Stein. 


Irene Chan, Associate Professor, Visual Arts 

Railroad Track of Violence: Stories of the Chinese in 19th-Century America 

Railroad Track of Violence documents the history of violence against and resisted by the Chinese in America during the nineteenth century. This little-known but important part of United States history is now available to all in an innovative interactive website. The website houses an animation that the user can move and read in a unique storytelling experience.  

Monday, April 17 

Calla Thompson, Associate Professor, Visual Arts 

2017 Dresher Center Residential Faculty Fellow 

 The Velvet Fist: Canadian Gay and Lesbian Liberation in 1981 Toronto 

On February fifth, 1981, four gay bathhouses were violently raided by the Metropolitan Toronto Police, in the largest mass arrest in the city’s history. Over 300 gay men were charged as found-ins of a bawdy house. The riot the following night, of 3000 gay men and lesbians, would become known as “Canada’s Stonewall Riots,” and the birth of the LGBT movement in Canada. That year marked the first time that gay men and lesbians organized en masse to fight for human rights. I will discuss my research on this period and my work to-date writing a book of historical fiction. 

Monday, April 24 

Constantine N. Vaporis, Professor, History, and Director, Asian Studies Program 

2017 Dresher Center Residential Faculty Fellow 

Reconsidering Yoshida Shôin, Samurai Imperial Loyalist, through his Memory Landscape 

I will reconsider the historical legacy of the samurai Yoshida Shôin (1830-59), primarily through an examination of the sites or realms of memory—monuments, graves, statues, shrines, and other historical sites—that comprise his memory landscape. I will also consider commemorative activity such as tourist campaigns, visitation and pilgrimage to Shôin shrines in Tokyo and Hagi, as well as Shôin’s treatment in popular culture, including film and textually mediated historical memory. In doing so, I aim to reassess Shôin’s historical legacy as well as to examine the role of memory landscapes in the construction of historical memory.